Summary: Often God has to spank as part of His loving discipline. Heb. 12:6 “…whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." There are at least 3 purposes to God’s tough love or chastening - instruction, correction, and prevention.

God’s Tough Love

Job 5:17-18 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.

Have you ever thought that God was upset or angry with you? When we go through some devastating tragedy or your world seems to have been turned upside down, the temptation is to think that God doesn’t love us; that He might even hate us, and doesn't really care what happens to us. You might even ask yourself, “If God really loved me, why would He allow me to go through this horrid experience?” Nothing could be farther from the truth. God’s discipline is an act of love. Often God has to spank us or allow adversity in our lives as part of His loving discipline. Hebrews 12:6 “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." The word chasten comes from a Greek word paideuo (ðáéäåõù). Vine’s dictionary says this word primarily denotes training of children. Synonymous with chastening is correction and discipline. There are at least three purposes for God’s tough love or chastening (1) instruction or education, (2) correction, and prevention.

I. God uses discipline to instruct us in the faith and as to what is right and what is wrong.

A. Instructive discipline is described as training that is intended to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior.

B. Romans 5:3-5 “...we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

C. James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

D. Job is the poster child for instructive discipline. Through his trials, Job grew in his understanding of who this great, glorious, wise, almighty God is.

E. Job 42:1-6 “Then Job answered the LORD and said: "I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.' "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

F. God often has to use outside motivation to cause us to make right choices until we develop the internal motivation to make the right choices.

G. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”

H. In his book The Problem of Pain C. S. Lewis writes, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, and speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains.” - copied

II. God uses discipline to correct us for doing things we shouldn’t have done.

A. Sometimes it is as if Christians believe they can sin with impunity or without consequences. God has called us to walk separated, pure, holy lives. When we fail to do so there is a cost for our action or inaction, a price for sin.

B. John MacArthur wrote in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on I Corinthians 6:12 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983)., “Every sin I as a Christian commit is forgiven in Jesus Christ. But no sin is ever right or good, and no sin ever produces anything right or good. The price for doing some things is terribly high, terribly unprofitable. Sin never brings profit; it always brings loss.

C. Consider the price they paid.

1. Adam sinned and it cost Him Paradise.

2. Moses sinned and it cost him entering into the Promised Land.

3. Sampson sinned and it cost him his strength.

4. King Saul sinned and it cost him his kingdom.

5. David sinned and it cost him the life of his child.

6. Lot sinned by it cost him his family.

7. Ananias sinned and it cost him his life.

D. The cost paid by each of these was the consequence of sin in the life of a chosen child of God. The Christian cannot sin with impunity.

E. 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

F. Sin in the life of the believer invites the chastening hand of God.

G. 1 Corinthian 5- gives us a picture of God’s corrective discipline. Here we read a man who had conformed to the world to the point that even the world was shocked by his behavior. In verse 5 we read:

1 Corinthians 5:5 “hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord[f] returns”

H. “God’s corrective discipline may even include death, but it is still redemptive. So we read in 1 Corinthians 11:32, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” God’s discipline has nothing to do with judgment. God’s children will never experience divine wrath; he reserves that for unbelievers.” - P. G. Mathew, Benefits of Divine Discipline

I. Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

J. G. Campbell Morgan – “We cry too often to be delivered from the punishment instead of the sin that lies behind it. We are anxious to escape from the things that cause us pain rather than from the things that cause God pain.”

III. God uses discipline to prevent us for doing things we shouldn’t do

A. God sometimes disciplines to prevent sin.

B. 2 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV) “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” (Thorn – a sharp stake)

C. Also when we begin to wander away or stray from God’s straight and narrow way, God uses discipline to bring us back and to keep us from doing what we shouldn’t.

D. Psalm 23:4 “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me”

E. Noticing that a shepherd in Syria was carrying food to a sheep that had a broken leg, a traveler asked how it happened. "Did it fall into a hole or did some animal break the leg?" he queried.

"No," said the Shepherd, "I broke it."

"You broke it?" asked the surprised traveler.

"Yes. This is a wayward sheep. It wouldn't stay with the flock and would lead some of the sheep astray. It wouldn't let me near it and so I had to break it's leg so it would allow me to feed it. In doing this it will get to know me as its shepherd, trust me as its guide, and keep with the flock."

Sound familiar? Been there. Done that! Whom the Lord loves he chastens! Isn't it good to know that the Lord loves us ... when we walk away limping! – Dick Innes

F. Billy Graham has said, ““God does not discipline us to subdue us, but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness. In His wisdom, He knows that an uncontrolled life is an unhappy life, so He puts reins on our wayward souls that they may be directed into the paths of righteousness.” - The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook, (World Wide Publications, Minneapolis, MN, 1984), pp. 53-54

IV. How are we to respond to God’s tough love?

A. Realize that discipline is an evidence that we are really God's children (Hebrews 12:8), and that He loves us enough to train us in righteousness, correct us when we err from it and steer us away from unrighteousness because He knows that in the long run, doing the right thing will bring Him honor and enable us to realize our own highest well-being.

B. Ask, is there something God is trying to teach me? - Psalms 25:4 “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.”

C. Is there something I have done or not done for which God is correcting me? – 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

D. Is there something that God is trying to keep me from doing or stumbling over? – Psalm 17:5 “Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.”